Troy Goodfellow over on Flash of Steel, recently posted on the Eight Greatest Features that a game should have. It makes for interesting reading, although a couple (2 & 3) are to me “features that every good game must have” rather than “features that make a game cool” (which seems more the intent of the original post). I pretty much agree with most of the list though, and amused myself listing which of the features I hope Imperium will end up having.
1. Random maps
Not the best of starts. Part of the fun in Imperium is the historical starting position, and although randomizing some aspects of the start up position wouldn’t be too hard, I don’t plan to do so. Perhaps in an update, if people wish it, and I have the time.
2. Rollover Tooltips
I pretty much feel this is a must. There is a special circle in Game Developer hell reserved for anyone developing complex games who doesn’t include tool tips (at least these days, when tool tips have become trivial to implement).
3. Clear Iconography
Definitely… although in the case of Imperium, this depends on the artists I get. 2-1.
4. Multiple Valid Starting Options
Goes without saying; although I do not entirely agree with the “Law of Geryk” as quoted in the post from the viewpoint of historical games. I can imagine the outcry from outraged gamers if a World War 2 strategy game only allowed the player to start the war from 1941. Historical games often have to seem “complete”, no matter how silly it may seem from a design viewpoint.
5. Layered Diplomacy
Imperium should be able to provide this, though having worked on the Diplomacy AI over the past week, I have every sympathy for the programmers of other games including diplomacy. This is tough to get right … assuming I do, though: 4-1.
6. Real Superweapons
Hmm… that’s tough. Unless the super historical characters can be said to count (Hannibal the Thunderbolt surely counts for 4 or 5 normal characters, right?)… I don’t think so.
7. Special powers with cool down, not one shots
Will probably have to give this a pass entirely, as there are no special powers. That is to say, I actually planned to include some types of special powers (character abilities), but as I want to finish Imperium before the turn of the century, I’ve dropped that design element.
8. TCP/IP and LAN connection
Not really a priority for me at the moment. When (if) I get around to multi-player, I suspect I am more likely to build a turn-based system like the one in Dominions, so this doesn’t really apply.
4 out of 8 in this case, then. Of course, whether I successfully manage to implement the stuff correctly is another question entirely. What are the features that make a strategy game great for you?